The Transformations and Adaptations of Wirnts of Grafenberg 'Wigalois'

Annegret Oehme

(Duke University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Status: Dissertation, geplanter Abschluss: 2016

My dissertation project explores the reception of the European phenomenon of King Arthur among German and Yiddish speaking audiences using the narrative of a knight called Wigalois. Scholars have researched mainly Wigalois and referred to later adaptations without paying close attention to the process of adapting the narrative. But this is crucial, for it shows the interdependence of the Yiddish and German adaptations. I will argue that at its core this narrative signifies a ‘European’ narrative that participates in a vast net of literature production with a topic originating in the British Isles but transformed for a vast array different audiences and how it functioned to ignite a dialogue between two seemingly separate cultural groups, Christian-German and Yiddish-Jewish readership. In order to achieve that, I will compare nine adaptations of the Wigalois narrative in Yiddish and German, which date from 1215 to 2011.